If I made a movie on the Delhi Elections…

DISCLAIMER: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance, including their names, to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Smoking anything is injurious to health, and I was NOT smoking anything when I thought of this!

The movie begins with the election campaign of AAP and BJP and goes on entertainingly until the result day with intermission at the jubilation of AAP clean sweep and the depression in BJP office.

Second part (Kahani me twist): The wholeKiran Bedi Kejriwal Anna Hazare AFP thing is a plan by Ana, Kejruval and Kiran Bedy after the collapse of the Jantar Mantar movement. AAP was formed by these three people to take on Congress and BJP but Ana and Bedy publically criticized it because they had certain roles to play in the future and they did not want it typecast as the same team.

Congress was an easy target so Kejruval could handle it by himself, but BJP and Moody were a challenge due to their clout. Bedy joined the BJP at the last minute to put them off track and shield them from the realities of the challenge ahead. She consciously made those bloopers to reveal certain inside information (like paying money to candidate etc.) and break their cadre strength. She made a big fool out of herself to ensure that AAP has no potential opposition in this election. Now, that the results are out, Bedy will resign from the party on moral grounds and take all the blame.

Bedi_kejriwal_650_bigstryFinal scene: Kejruval and Bedy meeting Ana and taking his blessings, CUT TO  Kiran Bedy (the former dare devil cop who actually towed the PMO’s car 😉 ) taking oath as the Home Minister in the Delhi cabinet headed by Arvind Kejruval for the next five years as Ana smiles from the first row of guests 😀




Post-credit sequence:



















Image courtesy: DailyMail, NDTV, ABP, GustakhiMaaf.com, Business Standard, Snapdeal

The Value of Freedom

First appeared in 21 Fools e-magazine

‘The military officer’s is a job which offers you challenge, adventure, excitement, honour, prestige, self respect, wholesome family life, safety and security for the family and to top it all the love, respect and esteem of our great India.’ Brigadier Puneet Rajvardhan Singh cannot forget these words, ever. They are engraved and embossed deep within his self.

From the first time Brig. Singh came across these words, about thirty five years ago, as Puneet-the son of the school master in a remote village in Punjab they have meant more than just another inspiring sentence in the English language. For the twenty one year old in him, they defined his dreams and his strength to fight the uncertainties of life that lay ahead of him. For the seasoned officer in the Indian army looking towards retirement, they mean everything from job satisfaction to life achievement. In essence they present the army man’s life itself.

The history of any country is closely related to its military forces and wars, and in a country as extensive and ancient as ours evolution of the military has been fairly explicit. From the ancient times of Ramayan and Mahabharat to the latest border dispute wars, everything from strategies to the weapons used have changed significantly, but what remain intact is our respect and admiration for these defenders of our borders.

In fact, the corruption and inefficiency of the political systems and politicians post independence has abashed this stratum of the society so much among the countrymen, that today the emotions of ‘freedom’ and ‘patriotism’ are not attributed to these legitimate descendents of our freedom fighters at all. Instead the honour of that remains only with the soldiers of our country.

In his career Brig Singh has seen both the loss of peace and freedom through the lives of the innocent yet affected people living in disputed border villages, as well as the awakening of a whole new nation- Bangladesh to the splendour of independence, but had never appreciated these experiences until that incident occurred in his life.

Then, a Lt.Col commanding a smaller unit, Brig Singh was also an affectionate but strict family man. He brought his children up under the shadow of a strict code of discipline. He was very firm on his lavishly used expression – “A ‘no’ is a NO!” This applied even to his octogenarian father, who was spending the later part of his retired life with his son and family after the demise of his wife. The disciplining of his father was a consequence of the old man’s deteriorating health metrics.

Like many others at his age, Brig Singh’s father was also a store house of bodily imbalances – of insulin, blood pressure, cardiac troubles, cataract etc. The former school teacher’s daily dose of medicines seemed to challenge his food intake, yet the old man still craved for an occasional sweet or spice which his son obstinately denied him. The ritual of the father pleading for some food supplement- be it sugar or salt to his unrelenting son had become so mundane an affair in the household that no one seemed to attach any importance to the elder’s persistent requests, and this made him all the more dejected and despondent over time.

On one of those extremely rare days when there was no one else to oversee him at home, the old man couldn’t resist his temptation to make the most of the opportunity that he had the entire house to his own without even the orderly around to keep a watch. He went into the kitchen, used the chair to get on top of a small plinth and pull out the bottle of pickle from the overhead shelf. Then carefully taking a spoon so as to not leave a traceable mess in the kitchen, he scooped a pickled lime and slurped it instantly, with his twinkling eyes expounding the childlike pleasure and thrill in his heart. After another couple of rounds of the spicy tangy pickle, ensuring that nothing was spilt on the kitchen floor, he placed the bottle back to where it was and replaced the chair to its original position.

But that was not enough. It was after several months that the old man was on his own. How could he allow the freedom to last for such a short period? After the spicy pickle, his heart was then set on the mangoes that the hawkers carried past their house every morning. In spite of his mouth watering at the very smell of it each day, his son had given clear instructions to the hawkers never to stop before their house. So the old man decided to take some time off and go down to the market where he would get some mangoes. He carefully locked the house, and got into an auto rickshaw heading to the marketplace. Once he reached there, he bought two mangoes, quite large in size. The smell was highly alluring. It was then it struck him that he could not carry them home as the smell of the mangoes shall remain in the household and he would be caught. So he started walking back to the house, eating the mangoes on his way one at a time. The extremely sweet mangoes instantly filled his heart with the contentment of having tasted the freedom that he yearned for so long. The juice dripped through his hands spilling quite some yellow on his kurta. But for a man revelling in an ecstasy as his, these yellow marks were the least of concerns. Life was at its best for him at that time, and everything else was behind. “What a bliss! “  , he thought as he walked past those residential compounds completely undisturbed and unnoticed, licking the mango remnants on his hands and smiling of joy at everyone walking by.

Brig Singh who was in his office preparing for a meeting that evening received a call from his neighbour. She informed him that his father had collapsed right outside their house, and that they were in the process of taking him to the military hospital. The military hospital saw Brig Singh face to face with one of those unbearable realities of life- bereavement.

In spite of the macabre gloom in my mind, Brig Singh could not help notice that wide smile on his old man’s face- a smile that seemed to have revisited that face after years. The familiar smile that Brig Singh had long forgotten, though secretly wished for every moment he spent with his father. Then he saw the yellow and red stains all over his father’s kurta and he guessed what could have happened. In his state of senility it was difficult for him to balance a spoonful of pickle or eat a mango clean, but that would not stop him from celebrating the achievement of a long sought freedom.

The value of freedom, Brig Singh learnt from his father, is beyond the mundane considerations of life and death. It is like air trapped in a jar, impatiently looking for the slightest of crevice to gush out into the open. The more you try to restrict it, the greater the urge to break free.  Likewise, it is only when you are denied it that you begin to appreciate the value of freedom, and there is no joy greater than that of achieving this denied freedom so much so that even death seems to be heartily welcomed at that moment.

This lesson learnt from his father played a pivotal role in shaping Brig Singh as a military officer. He has maintained ever since that every soldier must realise the value of freedom and independence, for it is only then that they shall understand and appreciate the value of what he/she is protecting for the motherland and her countless children.

As for Brig Singh to be constantly reminded of and guided by this lesson, his office has two portraits right in front of him. The one on the left has Mahatma Gandhi to symbolise India’s achievement of independence from colonial powers, and then his father’s portrait on the right to constantly remind him of the value of that freedom that as soldiers they were protecting for their countrymen.

The true essence of patriotism lies in appreciation of freedom, and the instilling of this value only can motivate our leaders and followers alike to work collectively towards a stronger nation. The freedom to elect our own rulers, to take our own decisions and solve our problems ourselves, the freedom to voice our opinion on the global stage, the freedom thanks to which foreign military is not forced being upon us, the freedom to not catch a cold when someone on the other half of the globe sneezes, the freedom to stand on our own with heads held high and spirits higher.

Value that freedom, it is precious… and as common as it used to be!

A Grandpa tale… Or Life Lesson?


The best way to come out of a writers’ block is to (re-) start off with something not so creative, yet delivering a satiating output, so that on the response to this output one can build upon. So here I am, writing about a story that I heard from my grandfather as a child. The story isn’t particularly great, but its got hell a lot of stuff for a thoughtful brain. So here it is…

There lived an old guy in some part of India in a small village (although not in any way relevant to the story, such a start helps many people identify themselves with the good old days of grandpa and grandma tales) He had a son who went to the town everyday to work. Now this old man was very old (LOL at the sentence), and he had a wish. He asked his son to bring him betel leaves while coming back from work every day.

The first day the boy brought some extra betel leaves. The man had some and stored the rest away (in a fridge? I don’t know!). The next day when his son brought fresh betel leaves, he chewed the ones he had put away the previous day and replaced them with the fresh ones. And this routine continued. The old man continued to keep the fresh leaves safe and chew the stale ones.

Probably I used to fall asleep by this point of the story, for I fail to recollect if there is anything further in it! Never mind, my interest lies only up to this part.

As a child, this story wasn’t anything fascinating. But as I grew up, there is something I found ingrained in this story that reveals itself only to its seeker.

The ability to discard’ is a character that we Indians, in particular, lack. To throw away anything, we think twice, thrice and endless number of times only to decide to put it away for ‘some’ use in the future (this fictional purpose shows up every time we think of discarding something but never after that!).

Open the refrigerator and you can find food older than a week or eatables that got past their expiry date craving for your attention there. The best place to look for your family heritage, especially if you are living in your ancestral house, is the attic and overhead storage units that remain neglected since the time you have ever known them. You can be certain to find an old diary or photograph or sometimes much bigger elements of your ancestry there! In cities, we live in relatively small apartments with hardly three or four rooms but still manage to misplace something or the other every day. Like my mother frequently says, “Half of one’s life is spent in searching something or the other.” LOL!

And another thing with us. We associate everything around us to religion. Flowers, food, paper. You name it and I can find something religious about it! Until very recently (to be precise, until I completed graduation) it was a sin to shred paper before discarding it. I would be disrespecting Goddess Saraswathy if I did so. Throwing away food was beyond sin! Accumulating trash over trash, in the process! Health and hygiene – gone to the dogs! Don’t worry, God will take care of it. “Humbug” I’d say, if I were allowed to have an opinion on this one. But alas! That would be another symbol of my sinful irreverence.

So coming back to the old man and his betel leaves. He was a typical Indian scared of trashing eatable stuff. If God becomes angry, he may never get betel leaves again! But the truth is that even our religions teach us not to accumulate trash- physical or mental. Discard the ones that do not serve any purpose. For only if you discard the useless can you replace them with something good, something new and useful; and only then will life and lifestyle improve.If he had thrown away the stale betel leaves on one day, he could have probably chewed fresh ones for his entire lifetime.

So, Think fresh, Eat fresh, Be fresh! Make a conscious effort to never accumulate trash, in any form!

Cheers! 🙂

Image Credits: federico stevanin

Dhiru and sons- a chapter in modern mythology

Dhiru Mahadev started his career as an employee in one of the many British companies located in the coast of Aden. Although a humble beginning, Dhiru was always poised for bigger challenges in life. A few years into his career he met the two people who would become his working partners in future.

The first person was Brahm Dev, a man of impeccable knowledge and research experience. His intelligence was supreme and people felt he thought with not one brain, but four! The other was Vishnu Baba, an operations expert who knew to keep any plant running irrespective of any form of trouble, be it from employees or management.

So when they formed their venture ‘Hind Reliance’, Brahm took charge of R&D and was responsible for creativity and innovation, while Vishnu took charge of operations and plant management. Mr.Mahadev, being the biggest contributor in the venture, was responsible for final goods delivery and overall decision making. So he was nicked ‘Param’- meaning supreme.

Param meanwhile got married to Parvatiben, a good looking woman with a strong Gujrati background.The couple were blessed with two sons. The elder one was Ganesh Mahadev and the younger was Karthik Mahadev.

Ganesh was born with a speech disability. He was smart but would not talk. This made him very shy and tied down to his own world of books and stories. Very soon his friends started calling him Mook-esh (‘mook’ meaning dumb in Hindi). Karthik on the other hand was a very handsome extrovert. He was inclined to movies and show biz right from a young age. At one point he felt that his name Karthik was so not reflective of his ‘modern’ nature that he re-christened himself ‘Anil’ after his favourite star in Bollywood Anil Kapoor.

As years went by, Dhiru Mahadev’s company became big and it looked like its employees could form a nation of their own. Dhiru would often quip to his wife, “Sitting in the twenty fifth floor of my office in Nariman Point, I feel like I am on top of some Kailash mountain and can see the entire world from a bird’s eye view.”

Mookesh and Anil went to the best school in the country and after completing their schooling in India, they were sent away for graduating in business studies from the US. When it was time for his sons to return after completing their graduate studies, Param found that he was a deeply worried and concerned man. He feared that bookish education in the US would be a handicap for his sons to run Hind Reliance. He feared that their decision making abilities will be affected by their Americanised perspectives in business, especially in a completely Indian company like theirs.

So he decided to test them.

One day after they were back in India, Param called his wife Parvatiben and their sons Mookesh and Anil to his study. There he was sitting with his close friend Mr.Narad Muni. Narad was a shrewd businessman who spent most of his life travelling across seas and shores for running his business. When they were ready, Param spoke.

“Sons, you are both very adorable, and we love you both. You have completed your education and have made yourselves eligible for bigger roles now. However, I would like to test you to know who among you is better suited at following me.”

“I have transferred Rs.1,00,00,000 to both your accounts. Now I will give you a maximum of one month to complete this assignment. Go and experience life to the fullest! Narad uncle will help you get your air tickets and all ready.”

True to their respective selves Mookesh remained sombre and unperturbed while there was a distinctive glint in Anil’s eyes. Within two days, Anil was cruising through the waters of Nile, while his elder brother Mookesh was slump on the couch watching Mind Your Language series on television.

Anil booked a Europe tour package that took him to the most exotic of places in the Europe. He cruised on the seas, went bungee jumping, yachting, rowing, and ice skiing and trekking through the Alps. He drank the most expensive liquors and slept with the most exquisite women from across the globe. He drove in the most luxurious of vehicles and interacted with many celebrities worldwide.

Meanwhile, his brother Mookesh preferred to stay indoors than outdoors. Much to the surprise of everyone around him, he went and joined Hind Reliance to help his father in business. In a matter of one week, he learnt the business in and out. By three weeks, he made Hind Reliance a profit of Rs. 50,00,000. Impressed by his effort at running the company, Param declared Mookesh as his successor.

When Anil came back from his tour, he was aghast to see that Mookesh had already been proclaimed winner in a contest that he considered uncompleted. Red faced, with a heavy heart he spoke to his father.

“Dad, you asked us to ‘GO’ and enjoy life. So I went out and experienced the best of everything in the world and came back. I learnt the best practices from everywhere and hoped to implement them in our company. But here I see that in spite of having not stepped outside the city, you have proclaimed Mookesh to be the winner. How unfair is that father?”

Param replied, “Yes, I asked you to experience ‘life’. By joining me at the company, Mookesh proved that ‘Hind Reliance’ was his life. What could have been a better reason to announce him as my successor?”

Not convinced at his father’s judgement Karthik ‘Anil’ Mahadev cried foul, vowed to never join his father’s company and walked out of the Mahadev family house.

Dhiru ‘Param’ Mahadev smiled. His wife Parvatiben cried. Their son Ganesh ‘Mookesh’ Mahadev looked expressionless, but his dreams sore high like a 60 floors tower worth US$2Bn in the heart of Mumbai city!